Guest Contributor – War Pig – On Boys’ Books and Real Rocket Ships

Loved the book (Treasure Island) as a lad. In fact, I read it to my brother who was not old enough to read at the time and we played pirates for months on end. One of the greatest boy’s books ever written, true. I’d put it up there with Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn. Billy Bud, Call of the Wild, Johnny Tremain, Old Man and the Sea, Old Yeller (and Savage Sam), Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Red Badge of Courage, the Time Machine, War of the Worlds, White Fang, both Jungle Books, Have Space Suit – Will Travel, Tunnel in the Sky, Podkayne of Mars and Rocket Ship Galileo.

Along with the old Boy Scout Handbook, circa 1950-ish.

There was another series, the title/author of which I cannot remember, written for boys. The hero was a Poindexter-like young genius who solved issues such as he broke a case because the witness said they saw a squirrel backing down a tree. Squirrels always run down a tree head first, so the witness lied. A bit Sherlockian but set in Middle America. A bit like the Hardy Boys but better written, I thought. The hero used his brain and his studies and as a skinny young lad never resulted to violence or other like heroics.

One of my favorite Jules Verne novels was turned into a classic comic. “Steam House”, about a group of British nationals traversing India in a trailer thing pulled by a stem powered, mechanical elephant. I read all of Vern’s novels as well as a lad. I was amazed at seeing things he predicted in his novels come true.

I read Big Little books as well “Phantom”, “Mac and the Marines”, “Alley Oop” etc. Heck, I practically taught myself to read on the pulps like “Amazing Stories”.

“Rolling Stones” was pretty good. Castor and Pollux showed up again in “Number of the Beast” which was definitely NOT a children’s book. I preferred “Between Planets” until I learned what Venus was really like on the surface, which Heinlein could not have known at the time it was written. Blast you, Carl Sagan. 😉

I was an omnivorous reader as a child. Sci-fi, dad’s Zane Gray and Louis L’Amour books, anything written by Sam Clemens and Rudyard Kipling. I went through the child’s section at the local library in short order and then onto anything written about dinosaurs and aircraft/space. Dad worked for North American Aviation, later called Rockwell then Rocketdyne. He helped develop the X-15, OV-10, A-5, B-70 and others, as well as worked on the Saturn V boosters and Dino-Soar reentry vehicle and ICBM’s. He brought home color photos and posters for me to hang on the wall of the aircraft he helped develop. He also recommended many books on jets and space vehicles, as well as westerns (his favorite genre).

Dad and mom had rings made from a reentry missile nosecone that had been in space and suffered the fiery reentry. Whatever it was made from, only diamonds could cut it and it took them time. It was like white gold but never tarnished and no chemicals ever had any effect on it.  It must have been some titanium alloy as it looked like white gold and easily survived reentry.  It had his first name and hers on their rings, and the engraving took a week with a special diamond tip. Both were buried with them.

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Chemist
Chemist
4 months ago

You had cool parents. I suspect the metal that their rings were made from was Titanium. I would add “The Rolling Stones” to your list of Sci Fi books.

War Pig
War Pig
4 months ago
Reply to  Chemist

It must have been some titanium alloy as it looked like white gold and easily survived reentry. “Rolling Stones” was pretty good. Castor and Pollux showed up again in “Number of the Beast” which was definitely NOT a children’s book. I preferred “Between Planets” until I learned what Venus was really like on the surface, which Heinlein could not have known at the time it was written. Blast you, Carl Sagan. 😉 There was another series, the title/author of which I cannot remember, written for boys. The hero was a Poindexter-like young genius who solved issues such as he broke… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by War Pig
Kim Campbell
Kim Campbell
4 months ago

“The hero was a Poindexter-like young genius…”

I remember that series. I think I had them all. IIRC they were written (maybe ghost-written) by Alfred Hitchcock.

Found them: Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators

Last edited 4 months ago by Kim Campbell
Chemist
Chemist
4 months ago
Reply to  Kim Campbell

“The Three Investigators” was a good series with Jupiter Jones as the brainy kid, but I think War Pig is thinking of the “Encyclopedia Brown” books.

Chemist
Chemist
4 months ago
Reply to  photog

Look into Baen Books. They publish good stuff, no SJW and no DRM for eBooks. I like stuff by Eric Flint and Larry Correia. The Monster Hunter books are great.

War Pig
War Pig
4 months ago
Reply to  Chemist

Thank You! That’s the series. I’ll have to look them up now.

TomD77
4 months ago

Sounds like I’m close to you in age (born 1948) and in background. I too read everything I could get my hands on including everything you listed above and a lot more. Dad was an engineer with a heavy military background. I don’t know when I started reading Sci-Fi but I still do, not exclusively though. I’ve tried to live my life in a traditional way, I’m an engineer, have children, a home, no debt and have always tried to be an asset to my community. I’ve been frugal and saved, made my own way and taken care of my… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by TomD77